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1,400 dolphins were killed in the Faroe Islands in one day, even shocking some pro-whalers

The murder was denounced by the Sea Shepherd marine conservation group as a “brutal and poorly managed” massacre, and the biggest hunt in Danish territory history.

The organization said a 1,428 Atlantic white-sided dolphin super-pod was surrounded by speedboats and jet skis on Skálabotnur Beach on Eysturoy Island, where they were then killed.

The Faroe Islands are an autonomous territory of the Kingdom of Denmark, located halfway between Scotland and Iceland in the Atlantic Ocean.

The annual whale hunt, or grindadráp in Faroese, has been part of the local culture for centuries, but it usually involves hunting pilot whales. Although it has long been criticized by animal rights groups, locals have defended the practice.

Kristian Petersen, 41, from the Faroese town of Fuglafjørður but now living in Denmark, said he started whaling at the age of seven, but in his village dolphins have never been targeted.

“I experienced this firsthand and also participated a bit,” Petersen told CNN. “As long as it was just for the food, I supported him. But this recent take that took place over the weekend, I’m against the way it went.

Petersen is one of many whaling supporters who condemned Sunday’s murder, saying there had been “so many mistakes” including chasing a large herd and prolonging the suffering of the people. dolphins by not having enough people on the beaches to kill them.

Over the past decades, the practice has been tightly regulated by the Faroese government, with guidelines for the authorization of hunts and how they are to be conducted.

Many, including Petersen, have questioned the legality of Sunday’s murder, with allegations that the local foreman, who is involved in regulating whaling in the area alongside the district administrator, was not informed in accordance with the regulations.

The foreman, Heri Petersen, was quoted by local media outlet calling for responsibility and confirming that there were too few killers involved, meaning the dolphins struggled to breathe on the beach until let them be killed.

The Faroe Islands Executive Decree on the Hunting of Pilot Whales and Other Small Whales, issued in January 2017, states that the district administrator or foreman must approve any hunting and gives them the responsibility to “ensure that there is enough people on land to kill the whales ”.

Faroe Islands Police Bjorg Jacobsen told CNN the hunt was legal, but declined to comment further.

1,400 dolphins were killed in the Faroe Islands in one day, even shocking some pro-whalers

In a written statement, Faroese government spokesman Páll Nolsøe told CNN that white-sided dolphin hunting was a sustainable practice, and said the annual number averaged around 250 but “varied. considerably “, making Sunday’s catch almost six times larger.

“The meat from each whale hunt provides a large amount of valuable food, which is distributed free of charge to the local communities where the whale hunts take place … the meat of the 1,400 dolphins caught on Sunday was also distributed to the participants of the catch. and the local community, ”he added.

However, Sea Shepherd claimed locals said there was too much meat from Sunday’s hunt and that there were fears it might be thrown out, pointing to interviews published in Danish newspaper Ekstra Bladet .
1,400 dolphins were killed in the Faroe Islands in one day, even shocking some pro-whalers

The organization further alleged that several dolphins were run over by motor boats and “hacked into propellers”, prompting reports to local police. He also claimed that several of those involved did not have the required licenses to participate. Police in the Faroe Islands did not respond to a CNN request for comment on the allegations.

“Considering the times we live in, with a global pandemic and the world coming to a halt, it is absolutely appalling to see an attack on nature of this magnitude in the Faroe Islands,” said the CEO of Sea Shepherd Global, Alex Cornelissen, in a statement. .
The Faroe Islands Whale and Whaling Corps has continued to support the practice in recent years despite criticism, stating on its website, “The average catch of around 800 whales per year is not considered having a significant impact on pilot whales abundance, which are estimated to be around 778,000.